The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office K9 Division handles a wide variety of tasks in protecting the citizens of Tangipahoa Parish. The K9 Unit has been an ever growing division within the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office. In 2004, Sheriff Daniel H. Edwards evolved this unit into a full time component of the sheriff’s office. Currently, this division is comprised of five specially trained deputies, their K9 companions and three bloodhound dogs.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office maintains a professional K9 Unit which has proved to be a valuable asset to the daily operations of the sheriff’s office. The division consists of four patrol dogs, three bloodhounds, and one narcotics detection dog. Through the efforts of Sheriff Edwards, one K9 team is scheduled twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week to protect the citizens of Tangipahoa Parish. The K9 unit is called upon to fulfill many tasks within the department. Their services include criminal apprehension, building searches, area searches, evidence detection, narcotics detection, tracking missing persons, tracking fleeing suspects, crowd control and for protecting the lives of their handlers and other law enforcement counter parts.
Each K-9 is assigned to a deputy and lives with that deputy and his/her family. In order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the TPSO, continuous education is top priority. Each K9 dog is trained and certified by the USPCA, NNDDA and the NPCA. Reliability in job performance is of paramount importance when it comes to our K9's and their duties. Their ongoing proficiency training ensures each dog will act and perform according to expectations and standards. Working towards that goal, all handlers and their dogs exceed the number of expected hours for monthly maintenance training. The TPSO K9 team literally saves hundreds of man -hours each year searching for criminal suspects and missing persons. Our canines, with the use of their enhanced sense of smell, can search a location in a fraction of the time that it would take a deputy or search team, therefore allowing our resources to be back in full service in a timely manner.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office mainly uses Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds as our K9 companions. These dogs are imported from Europe and will typically join the Sheriff's Office when they are between 1-3 years old. We have found that European dogs have a strong work ethic and provide our community the best return for the investment in time and money that a canine team requires. Each K9 must complete 420 hours of training with its handler/deputy to be certified as a law enforcement canine. Once certified, the canine is given its own Sheriff's Office personal identification number and badge. Our dogs are a treasured part of the sheriff's office. To that end, state law helps protect law enforcement canines by making it a felony to injury or kill a police dog.
Our K9 Unit not only works diligently to provide Tangipahoa Parish the protection they deserve, they continuously work to maintain a favorable relationship within the parish by actively participating in community events. This team spends numerous hours within our parish schools educating our youth about drugs and prevention. They also work with many elderly task force groups and provide general K9 demonstrations when ever possible.